Aug 10, 2011
South Korea’s military said it fired artillery rounds in retaliation after hearing explosions coming from the North near the countries’ disputed sea border that was the scene of a deadly shelling in November.
The three South Korean shells were fired into the sea around 2 p.m. local time, about an hour after the initial salvo, said a defense ministry official who declined to be identified, citing government policy. The defense official said the military wasn’t aware of any drills in the area.
The incident comes a month after both nations said they would try to revive multilateral talks on the North’s nuclear- weapons program, signaling an easing of tension between the two rivals that has been an irritant to U.S.-China ties over the past year. The so-called Northern Limit Line dividing the two nations on their western border in the Yellow Sea has been a source of repeated conflict since their 1950-1953 civil war ended in a cease-fire.
“North Korea appears to be provoking the South in a calculated manner to highlight the need for a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement after the war,” said Kim Yong Hyun, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul. “I doubt the North will go so far as to risk breaking down the dialogue.”